Are Instagram Models for Real?
Updated: Dec 14, 2018
You look in the mirror, check your face, pull your skin to one side or the other; inspect the perfection. And sometimes, you see all the reasons why you need to invest in the multibillion dollar industry that is beauty enhancement. You buy the Revlons and the L’oreals — the Neutrogenas and the Cliniques — just to make sure you’re up to standard.
And then sometimes, you look in the mirror and you’re surprised at what you see. Staring back at you is this beautiful person, unhinged and revealed — fresh-faced, bright-smiled with eyes to match — and you realize that you don’t necessarily need all the makeup, with its contours and its highlights and its brushes and its makeup kits.
So then you invest in all that jazz anyway, because WOW. You’re so beautiful, just imagine what could be with just a few simple layers of application.
You get excited, unleash your inner Picasso, and make magic of your own inner Joie de Vivre; it becomes a rush of blush and blues, shadows and liners and lashes too. Then come the photos, about a dozen or so, in multiple angles amongst varying light fixtures, with several yet similar facial expressions. What unfolds is your very own Aphrodite, more in love with herself than the makeup before her.
And then, the culmination of all your effort and worth — the end-all-be-all, the moment of truth: the Instagram post. Hundreds of followers chime in to rank your prestige of beauty marked by a swift double tap. You feel good, famous even.
1000 followers turn to 5000 turn to 10000 soon. Small-sized brands begin to reach out and offer small trinkets of cash in exchange for exposure. You accept. Now you’ve become a social media model (otherwise known as the Instagram Model).
Despite the unsurmountable questioning on the validity of professionalism inherent in Instagram models, there is proof behind the pudding.
A pro·fes·sion·al (adj.) is defined as, “(of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.” Meaning that if you are getting paid (or pursuing payment) for the work that you are doing, and have, furthermore, qualified this work as your full time means of employment, then you have aptly earned the right to that title.
Those selfie models who seem to be maligned for their work — simply because the rest of us are doing it too — are, in fact, qualified professionals in their field.
I know I know, it’s just a photo right?
But it’s more than that.
These self-proclaimed models now contribute to an estimated increased market size of $1.7 billion. In fact, for every one dollar invested into the Instagram model, brands can expect to witness an average 700% return. These days, the Instagram model, also known as the more pronounced, ‘Influencer,’ contributes to the overall development of a brand, augmenting both its community engagement and product dissemination via organic word of mouth — and brands want in.
According to Forbes Magazine, influencer marketing is more lucrative than digital ads these days, which means that in today’s society, that selfie model that you scoff at has more impact on consumer brands than the brands themselves.
It’s easy to get caught up in the surface of the thing, rather than the thing itself. In fact, the self-proclaimed selfie model profits off of this very surface-assumption. So the next time you mock that bubblegum flavored lipstick on Gigi Hadid’s lips in her Thursday-afternoon Instagram post, know that someone somewhere paid her to put it there.
Life is what you make it. As is happiness, as is professionalism, as is the social media post.